The S&P 500 Index has continued to slowly grind upwards this year. Thus far, 2014 has been eerily devoid of volatility while remaining positive, gaining 6.7%. Despite a lack of excitement in the major U.S. averages, most other markets have left investors both disappointed and perplexed, including U.S. small-cap stocks, commodities, the global bond market, and emerging markets. With record amounts of liquid investment capital sloshing back and forth in the global markets, it has become more and more difficult for short-term traders to anticipate new trends. However, for long-term investors, we believe the trends are clear. The U.S. economy is strengthening, America has become the top investment destination in the world, and high-quality U.S. dividend-paying stocks remain the best choice for the average investor.